Author Topic: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust  (Read 1094 times)

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Offline Talls6

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1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« on: April 14, 2014, 02:35:04 PM »
Hello All,

Here was my 1st attempt at a Cracker style crust Pizza.  I have been a long time lurker at this site and learned a ton of tips and techniques, which I think helped immensely in my 1st attempt.  I have to give up front Credit to Nick57 as I used his modification of the Dough Doctors recipe as my dough base….so I guess I should give credit to the Dough Doctor as well.  I then modified the procedure slightly and added in some Laminations, so some thanks goes to Fazzari as well.  Any way here is what I did.
I used the Dough Calculator to make a 14” pie with a .1 thickness.

Flour - (straight AP as that is what I had) 100%
Water- 45%
Salt - 2%
Yeast - .75%
Oil - 8%
Sugar - a pinch

I put the dry ingredients in the bowl of my Food processor with blade attachment.  I then added the yeast to 105 degree water with a pinch of sugar to wake the little guys up, I waited about 5 minutes and then added the water/yeast and Oil to the flour and salt.  I pulsed until it started to come together but hadn’t formed a cohesive dough yet.  It looked a lot like thick cornmeal at this point.  I dumped the dough into a bowl and pressed together to form a rough ball.  I placed this in a sealed glass bowl for 2 hours at room temp.  At the 2 hour mark I pulled the dough out, flattened and folded back into thirds.  Back into the bowl at Room temp.  At the 4 hours mark I repeated the previous step.  At around the 7 hour mark I floured up the counter and rolled the dough out to 1/8” thickness.  By now the dough had turned very nice.  A little tight yet but not horrible, I then folded the dough in half and then in half again.  (4 layers)  I covered it with a towel and let it rest for about 15 minutes.  I then rolled the dough out again to 1/8” thickness or slightly thinner, put it in my perforated cutter pan, wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed in my refrigerator for about 20 hours.  I took the dough out about 2 hours before cook time.  I preheated the oven to 550 degrees.  I par baked the crust, 3 minutes on the cutter pan and 2 minutes on the stone.  In retrospect I think it was a bit too long.  I let the crust cool to room temp, sauced, topped and baked at 425 for around 8 minutes.  The pie came out really crispy and crackly.  I am well pleased.  Here are some pictures.  Thanks for looking.  Comments are always welcome.
Darren


Offline nick57

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 04:29:43 PM »
Great looking pie!! Thanks for the heads up! But, I can't take the credit, I learned everything from the great teachers on this forum. Though I have made some of my own modifications, I am still trying to get to cracker perfection. I have not tried the folding technique, It seems to work well for others here. I'll give it a try.  I have also let the skin do extended time in the fridge, and I like the results. Try using Bread Flour like KABF next time to see if you like the results of the stronger flour. Congrats on a beautiful pie and your results! ;D
« Last Edit: April 14, 2014, 04:32:26 PM by nick57 »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 06:43:34 PM »
Darren,

Nice job, especially for a first try.

As a point of clarification, what kind of yeast did you use--IDY or ADY?

Peter

Offline Talls6

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 08:51:09 AM »
Thanks Nick57 and Pete-zza for the comments.

Nick - I will try the Bread flour next time to see how the differance plays out.  I was also looking at how others use Semolina or Rye Flour in small amounts.  Any experiance with those in this type of crust?  I am a big fan of long rests in the fridge for my dough's.  I find that the flavor gets better as it ages and I can mix the dough up when I have time and pull it out when I need it.  I have left bread dough in the fridge for up to 96 hours. 
Peter - I used IDY for this dough. 

Darren

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 11:45:59 AM »
If you really want it to be great, don't parbake and don't remove the skin from the fridge until just before you bake. Leaving the laminated skin at room temperature for two hours probably undid the results of all the hard work you put into laminating. Parbaking may have created some kind of laminated appearance, but that kind of "lamination" is not the same thing as the results you get when you keep it cold don't parbake.

Offline Talls6

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2014, 12:29:34 PM »
Thanks for the advice.  I will try that this weekend.
Darren

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 02:52:35 PM »
Since you're paying attention, I'll elaborate a little. When left at room temperature, as I'm sure you know, dough ferments faster than when it's kept in the fridge. With faster fermentation (or faster rise), a laminated skin is likely to merge back into one layer. I'd say two hours at room temperature is way more than enough time for that to happen (but that surely depends on yeast percentage and hydration/oil percentages).

I know fazzari advises keeping the skin cold until right before baking, and he does it that way for the same reasons I do it that way, even though each of us came to the same conclusion totally independent of each other. As you've already figured out, fazzari's work is a very good model to follow with this style.

Also, just about any parbaked skin will end up with the appearance of lamination because the whole skin usually becomes a giant bubble while it's parbaking. (Is that what yours did?) As I said earlier, this creates a crust that kinda looks like lamination, but it's just not the same to me. But do it every way you can think of. That way you'll know from experience how everything works, rather than thinking you know something just because I (or anyone else) told you something.

One more thing: I like AP flour for this style. I've recently used some higher-protein flours to do laminated cracker (using fazzari's "Every trick" instructions) and had good results (at least when I used considerably higher hydration than when I use AP flour), but I think I like AP better. Ideally I'd probably like to find a foodservice-quality flour that's maybe a little higher protein than AP, but for now I like Pillsbury and Gold Medal AP flour for laminated cracker style.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 02:55:19 PM by Aimless Ryan »

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 03:08:03 PM »
Darren;
Great "fish mouthing", those are those large football shaped holes so characteristic with a cracker type crust.
Well done!
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline Talls6

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2014, 05:05:39 PM »
Thanks Ryan for the explanation.  It makes sense to me.  Basically I was trying too many techniques and they sort of cancelled each out but "Faked" what I was going for?  You are correct, when I par baked the crust the whole thing blew up like a pita even with the docking.  When I pull it out and cooled it the bubbles stayed.  Is there an advantage to laminating over not?  Thanks for the input on Flour.  That seems to be a varied topic when it comes to Pizza making.  Almost as varied as how a sauce should be made.

Dough Doctor - Thank you for the kind words.  I never knew that was called "fish mouthing". 

Thank you to everyone for the encouragement.  My wife and kids better get used to pizza.   :drool:

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2014, 02:02:15 PM »
Is there an advantage to laminating over not?

Oh yeah! (I mean, there can be, if that's your thing.) When you do it right, laminated cracker style pizzas are unbelievable. Even when you don't do it right, they can still be unbelievable. The texture of a laminated cracker style pizza done right is unlike any other kind of pizza. Crispy (or crunchy) on the bottom, then progressively closer to chewy/bready with each layer above the bottom layer.

And there are so many different ways to do it. Fazzari does it with very low hydration. I think he has said he uses maybe as low as 33% hydration + 4% fat at work. I assume that's very crunchy and unlike anything I've ever had. Then you have Shakey's, which is probably about the same, but with a little higher hydration (38-40% +2-4% fat). So it's not as crunchy as fazzari's but still crunchy. Then you have my Tommy's clone, which is 43% hydration + 5% fat. This pizza is crispy/flaky at the bottom and can be chewy at the top. And finally you have Round Table, which I guess is something like 48% hydration + 2-4% fat. Crispy at the bottom, then chewy, then probably a little bready at the top. Round Table may not be a true cracker style, but I don't think anyone has a problem with it being considered cracker style, I guess because laminated crust is kind of a style of its own.

Your dough, I would say, is in Round Table territory. With softer dough like yours, it's probably best to use some bench flour between the layers. Otherwise, the layers will probably merge right back together when you roll the folded dough. With fazzari's or Shakey's style, however, there's no way you want to use any bench flour. With Tommy's dough, I've gotten to where I dust the layers with a very minimal amount of bench flour. You could even call it none.

Aside from what I've already said, there are many more slight changes you can make to end up with different but equally awesome cracker style pizzas. Like adding more fat. Beyond 5% it starts getting flakier, from my experience. There are different ways to laminate and ferment, too. You can use AP or high gluten flour, and they create equally great but different results.

Different thicknesses can create vastly different pizzas with the same dough, using the same number of layers. Flour or no flour between the layers?

Even though I never considered myself a particularly huge fan of cracker style vs. other styles, that changed shortly after member briterian asked if anyone knew how to make Tommy's pizza. I didn't have a clue back then, but I tried it anyway. Once that happened, I was changed forever.

Here's a bit of info that took me a long time to figure out: Laminated cracker pizzas would rather never touch a pan (except when you use a pan as a template to trim the dough). I have a lot of different styles and sizes of pans, but the only ones I ever use anymore are the ones that are necessary to hold the shape of a skin. Basically deep dish pans for deep dish and stuffed, because you can't make either of those styles of pizza without a pan. Most other styles can be (and should be) baked directly on stone without pans. My opinion, of course.

Also, I think parbaking pizza skins is almost always a waste of time, for many reasons. I'll save my explanation for another post, though.


Offline Talls6

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2014, 04:08:17 PM »
Thanks Ryan.  That is a lot to Chew on for now.  I guess my plan is to make small changes and record what works and what doesn't. 
Darren

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2014, 06:44:31 PM »
Sounds good.

Offline Talls6

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2014, 11:39:52 AM »
Hello All, 
Thanks for checking in.  Here is my 2nd attempt at a thin and crispy cracker crust. 
Ryan, I said I was going to make small changes, but I went a bit larger on my changes. 
1.The Dough was the same percentages as above except for the following.
                Substituted 5% rye flour to the flour total
                Used ½ t of Garlic and herb seasoning in the dough
   Substituted 1 T of Vegetable Shortening (Crisco) for 1 T of Olive Oil
2.Did not prebake the crust prior to baking

I mixed up the dough as previously in my food processor until slightly combined.  Dumped it into a bowl and smashed together to form a rough ball and placed it in a sealed glass bowl.  About an Hour later I pressed the dough into a disk and folded it into thirds.  I did this again at the 2 hour mark.  By this time the dough was starting to come together nicely.  It still reminds me of a pie crust.  At this time I put the dough in the refrigerator for a nice overnight nap.  Since 2 of my 4 kids were up at 5am, I decided to wake the dough up in preparation to roll it out and lamination.  My plan was to use it that evening.  Well the best laid plans of mice..my wife informed me we wouldn't be home for supper……so I decided to force the issue and make Pizza for lunch.  The dough would have about 18 hours old.  4 hours after I pulled the dough out of the fridge it was expanding nicely.  I divided the dough 75/25 as my kids wanted a mini pepperoni pizza and who am I to deny that.  I rolled the larger ball out to about 1/8” thick.  It rolled pretty easily even with a lower hydration.  I do think a Sheeter would be great, but I don't think my wife would go along with that idea.  I folded the sheet in half and then in half again making 4 layers.  I covered with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 15 minutes while I rolled the kids crust out.  After 15 minutes I rolled the main crust out to about ¼” thickness, maybe slightly less.  I was worried about smashing the layers together again and cancelling out the laminations.  I placed the dough in my perforated Cutter pan, wrapped all crusts in plastic wrap and back into the fridge for 3 hours until lunch.  40 minutes before lunch I fired up the oven to 550 degrees.  Taking Ryan's and Fazzari’s advice I did not prebake the crust like my previous attempt.  I pulled the crusts, my 5 year old daughter helped with their pies and I made my wife and I a Garlic Chicken/Bacon and Scallion Pizza.  Quickly into the oven, pulled the big pie off the cutter pan at the 2 minute mark and cooked directly on the stone for another 6 minutes.  I have to play with Temps so something as the crust got a little dark in places. 

This crust was excellent in my opinion.  Now it is only my 2nd but wow, were the laminations crazy, just flaky, crispy goodness everywhere.  No major bubbles to contend with this time.  Thank you to everyone who offered advice.  I will be keeping this recipe and trying to tweak it slightly as I move forward. 
I hope this all makes sense?
Darren

Offline nick57

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2014, 03:31:19 PM »
  Looks really good! Those are some really dark spots. Do you know for sure if the oven temp is really 550 degrees? It may be running hot, or your stone could be too close to the bottom of the oven. You may try raising the stone to increase the heat on the top of the pie. The pie would cook quicker and the bottom may not over cook. I am going to try your folding technique on my next cracker pie. Looks like you have a good handle on the skin. Play around with temps and placement of the stone and you will get the crust doneness and color you are looking for.

Offline Talls6

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2014, 04:03:08 PM »
Thanks Nick.  I didn't get a temp on my oven to ensure 550.    ??? I will do that on my next bake.  The stone was on the 2nd lowest rack setting on the oven, so it may indeed have been to low.  Good luck on the folding technique.  To me the skins feel like a pie dough after I get them done?  Thanks again for your advice.  I will keep trying little things to get it right.  - Darren

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2014, 05:37:34 PM »
I'm glad some of that info helped.

The dark spots don't look bad to me, but that might become an issue if the oven can go any hotter. If you try Nick's suggestions and still have a little extra dark color, you can always try turning the oven down just a little; maybe 10 degrees at first.

Next time try to get some profile shots, to better show the lamination. And use the macro setting on your camera to get good close-up shots. (My close-up shots were horrible until someone made the same suggestion to me a couple years ago. My pics are probably still not very good, but the close-up shots are much better than they used to be.) Also, try to take the pictures with a background that has some contrast with the pizza; one single color in the background. Pizza on pizza makes it hard for some people to see what you're trying to show.

Looks good, though. And it sounds like a lot of things came together pretty well for you, even with some adversity thrown in.

Offline Talls6

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Re: 1st attempt at Cracker style crust
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2014, 08:48:16 AM »
Thanks Ryan.  I will take your advice on the photography.  I am the 1st on to admit I am terrible when it comes to taking pictures.  As far as the Macro setting goes, when I get a camara with a Macro setting I will use it.   :D  Right now I take my pictures with my I-Phone. But the advice on profile and backgrounds will help. 


 

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